After at least two introductions, a few bill propositions, and amendments, the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 has been passed in the Lok Sabha on Thursday. The bill penalizes Muslim men who try to break their marriage with the help of Islamic tradition of instant divorce or Triple Talaq which allows them to conduct a divorce just by saying the word ‘Talaq’ thrice without the consent of their wives. The bill proposed by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has been passed in the LS despite opposition parties’ rejection of it and BJP ally Janta Dal (United) walking out of the parliament.

This isn’t the first time Lok Sabha passed the Triple Talaq Bill, as the previous Lok Sabha had also passed the bill and its amended version. However, it lapsed in the Rajya Sabha, before the Lok Sabha dissolved last year for fresh election this year. A total of 303 votes in favor of the bill decided its fate in the Lok Sabha, while 82 votes were cast against it.

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“Twenty Muslim countries, including Pakistan, Bangladesh and Malaysia, have banned instant triple talaq. In some places, the practice is bailable and in other non-bailable. Why cannot secular India do the same… Don’t look at the issue through a political lens. This is an issue of justice and humanity… an issue of women’s rights and empowerment… we can’t abandon our Muslim sisters,” said Law Minister Prasad. Opposition parties questioned on the need of the Bill since the Supreme Court has banned the act.

A total of 303 votes in favor of clearing the bill decided its fate in the Lok Sabha, while 82 votes were cast against it.

Parliament does not require the sanction of the Supreme Court to bring a law. Since January 2017, there have been 547 cases of instant triple talaq and 345 cases since the Supreme Court judgment. Even after the ordinance, there have been 101 cases of instant triple talaq,” Prasad responded in the debate.

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Former Chief Minister of Bihar, Rabri Devi criticized JD(U) for forming an alliance with BJP despite having varying views on issues like triple talaq. “If the JD(U) is opposed to the BJP on issues like the triple talaq bill, Nitish Kumar should snap ties with it. I don’t know why the JD(U) is still sharing power with the BJP,” Rabri Devi told reporters outside the Legislative Council where she is the Leader of the Opposition.

An over the six-hour-long discussion concluded in the bill being passed as the ruling party holds a majority in the Lok Sabha.

“We are firmly opposed to the triple talaq bill and our stand on the issue has been unequivocal, without any contradictions like the JD(U),” Rabri Devi, the national vice president of the RJD. On JD(U) walking out of the parliament, she said, “Do not talk about the JD(U). The party has been known for looking in one direction and moving in another… saying something and doing something altogether different,” she told reporters.

An over the six-hour-long discussion concluded in the bill being passed as the ruling party holds a majority in the Lok Sabha. The real test lies with Rajya Sabha as until both houses pass the bill, it’s impossible for it to become legislation.

Picture Credit: News18

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